Live Review: Samantha Fish & Jesse Dayton – The Barbican, York [24 October 2023]

By John Hayhurst
By October 27, 2023 Live, Reviews

‘Death Wish Blues’ comes to York and Samantha Fish & Jesse Dayton turn on the style with a powerful 22 song setlist performance at The Barbican

Words – Ruth Shay, Photos – John Hayhurst

What do you get when you team a premier female blues guitarist from Kansas City with a guy from Texas who plays a little more country? You get one of the best rock n’ roll collaborations of 2023. Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton are currently touring in support of their album, ‘Death Wish Blues’. Their performance at the Barbican in York is by far one of the most fired up and exciting blues rock shows currently on the road in the UK.

I was unfamiliar with Dayton, who has worked with some of the greatest country artists like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and the great Willie Nelson. He’s a classic country picker with a flair for some rockabilly shredding. With a mixture of blues, rock and country, their set of classic covers and original material overwhelmed a ‘not quite’ sold out crowd here. Perhaps its hard to get blues fans out on a wet Tuesday night in York, but those that were here had a great time.

Both Fish and Dayton are accomplished guitarists and their styles blend well. Fish with slide guitar expertise and Dayton with his Texas fast-picking attack perfectly complement each other. Watching both on stage together was extremely fun.

The duo, backed by a fantastic support band, opened the set with a blistering cover of the MC5‘s ‘Kick Out The Jams’ before following that with title track ‘Deathwish’ from their album. Later they covered Vince Taylor’s 1959 classic “Brand New Cadillac.” Some rock aficionados may recall The Clash covering the song on their 1979 album London Calling. This version was fired up and featured the duo sharing the vocals as well as some fantastic guitar licks.

The set featured some classic blues and soul songs like Fish’s interpretation of the 1963 Barbara Lewis hit “Hello Stranger,” which is simply sublime. Her vocals have a torchlight quality — extremely sultry and sexy. The duo also covered “Seven And Seven Is” by the popular late 60s band Love, and were allowed some solo time too as Dayton‘s ‘Baby’s Long Gone’ was played and Fish’s ‘Bulletproof’ from her 2019 release, ‘Kill Or Be Kind’ which had Bonnie Raitt like qualities to it.

The duo took some time to perform a couple of acoustic numbers, including a beautiful rendition of ‘I’ll Be Here In The Morning’ by Townes Van Zandt. The vocal harmonies were just perfect and the audience were captivated.

Samantha Fish has one loyal following. The crowd was filled with people who were dedicated fans and there for a good time. Dayton and Fish are one of the most exciting acts currently touring which can only enhance both of their careers.

If you have a chance to catch the two on tour, I guarantee you’ll have a great time. The show features some classic songs, amazing guitar work, and a band that delivers the goods.

Setlist: Kick Out The Jams, Deathwish, Feels So Good, Hello Stranger, Brand New Cadillac, Settle For Less, Bulletproof, Down in the Mud, No Apology, Trauma, I’ll Be Here in the Morning, Baby’s Long Gone, Lover on the Side, Dangerous People, Supadupabad, Flooded Love, Rippin and Runnin, I Put a Spell on You, 7 and 7 Is, Riders. ENCORE: You Know My Heart, Goin Down South.